Continuing our series celebrating National Short Story Month, my pick is The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis.
Rick Moody once called Lydia Davis “The best prose stylist in America.” Dave Eggers says Davis “Blows the roof off of so many of our assumptions about what constitutes short fiction.” What I love about Lydia Davis’s writing is her ability to pack a punch in a few sentences. Her stories are concise but never frivolous. Her observations, subtle, are often unsettling and her wit, sharp. This collection is perfect for a commute to work, those moments in between, or a gloomy Sunday on the couch.
The Thirteenth Woman
In a town of twelve women there was a thirteenth. No one admitted she lived there, no mail came for her, no one spoke of her, no one asked after her, no one sold bread to her, no one bought anything from her, no one returned her glance, no one knocked on her door; the rain did not fall on her, the sun never shone on her, the day never dawned on her, the night never fell for her; for her the weeks did not pass, the years did not roll by; her house was unnumbered, her garden untended, her path not trod upon, her bed not slept in, her food not eaten, her clothes not worn; and yet in spite of all this she continued to live in the town without resenting what it did to her.
The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis, pg. 155 (Picador 2010)